Leader or killer? A day with 'Barbecue' in Haiti's capital

'Barbecue' is the self-appointed mayor and guardian of a neighborhood of tens of thousands of poor and working-class people in Port-au-Prince _ and a suspect in the massacre of dozens of men, women and children in the Haitian capital

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- He's known as Barbecue, an ex-cop suspected in the massacre of dozens of men, women and children in the Haitian capital — and a hero in his neighborhood, followed by crowds of adoring residents who consider him their protector.

Authorities say men like Barbecue, whose real name is Jimmy Cherizier, are increasingly taking charge of areas across Haiti as public safety disintegrates and the government loses its grip on a country facing one of its most violent periods in recent history despite a 15-year U.N. peacekeeping operation there.

Armed gangs, sometimes with links to corrupt police, battle each other for control of Port-au-Prince's lucrative outdoor markets, the source of a steady flow of cash from so-called "protection" fees from vendors, as well as drug deals and arms sales.